Home News PEW hears from Schneider Electric on how we can tackle the skills gap in electrical installation

PEW hears from Schneider Electric on how we can tackle the skills gap in electrical installation

On the brink of a new energy landscape where buildings must become more energy efficient, the UK is facing a major skills shortage in the construction industry, and specifically electrical installation experts, which could hold us back from any real change.

Keeping up with demand

The UK is suffering a shortage of skilled electricians with the know-how to drive us into a greener age of energy. The UK Skills Index has reported that just to keep up with the pace of demand, almost a quarter of the workforce need to be qualified apprentices to bridge the growing skills gap – that’s 24,000 apprentices that must qualify year on year.

Obviously, training is key but there are ways we can ensure the specialist skills currently available are used efficiently – assigning them to the right tasks that best match their skillsets. This may sound obvious, but one way to facilitate this is by providing them easy access to simple, flexible and scalable kit that is not too complex to install. This means assigning trainees or apprentices to basic tasks whilst their more experienced colleagues are diverted to work on the complex jobs that will help us deliver the modern requirements to meet our 2050 energy goals.

Leaders in the electrical space are now providing out-of-the-box products aimed at light commercial use cases, including multi-storey residential buildings, schools and public buildings, and high-end property installations, which arrive ready-to-install. For distributors, the ability to offer consolidated ‘ready-to-go’ solutions for projects that range from small home installations, to light commercial and larger commercial projects, is always beneficial.

This is ideal for the new wave of developing electrical talent to install and build their experience and frees up the time of experienced colleagues to focus on the more challenging tasks. And whilst the equipment is easy to install this doesn’t take away from its reliability and functionality, removing the need for lengthily ongoing maintenance and fewer costly repairs.

Design requirements

One real-world example of this is Schneider Electric, which has outlined the tools and solutions to help the new age of electricians migrate to these commercially minded use cases. As one of the leaders in digital transformation, energy management and automation, Schneider Electric has built a suite of electrical distributions designed specifically for these kinds of commercial applications.

Schneider Electric’s range offers distributors different options to help meet their customers electrical design requirements. It spans from entry-level, targeted at the new wave of electricians and contractors who are picking up a slew of new work in the wake of a revitalised energy landscape, to more established applications that are suitable for larger and more complex buildings. Whatever the case, these products can become the ‘go-to’ tools for more established firms relying on ready-to-install applications that will ensure their workforce is efficient and consistent.

With these lines of products, electrical distributors and wholesalers can fast-track an electrician’s skillset by supplying solutions as standalone products or as integrated components in modular assemblies, delivering reliable connections, peace of mind, and safe circuit protection. What’s more, providers such as Schneider Electric, who are offering ready-to-go, scalable products across panel and distribution boards as well as multi-row consumer units, are also committed to delivering modern tools for energy management by including metering kits to allow contractors and end-users to measure and regulate power consumption with ease. Examples of these solutions include:

i-Line Panel Boards 

Suitable for both industrial and commercial installations and compliant with building regulations, the units are prefabricated and can be mounted quickly. The i-Line panel boards are available in three categories (250A Rated, 400A Rated, 630A Rated) and different pole variants to meet each size and specification needs. Furthermore, the i-Line plug-and-play system makes it simple to install and fit correctly with reliable connections so that the board is ready for cabling.

KQ Loadcentre  

The KQ product range is a well-established, 3-phase application distribution system that will cater for most installations. The KQ load centre with metering and integral control supports a modular and flexible solution that can be deployed as a single distribution board, or as multiple boards that make up a more complex system. Answering the call to scalability, KQ also has a comprehensive range of devices that support any number of applications.

Easy9 Compact and Multirow Consumer Units

Available in a range of sizes, from a compact consumer unit for standard household requirements to a multirow unit that supports higher-density circuits for larger residential buildings and properties. The flexible multirow units can scale to support even more devices within the range.

Consistent quality

It is down to procurement leaders in the electrical industry to provide easy and scalable products that help nurture electricians’ skills and ensure they have the knowledge and decision-making capabilities to deliver reliable, scalable products across commercial and larger residential projects. By entrusting in a specific provider like Schneider Electric, businesses and electricians can ensure a consistent quality of service across all installations, which in time can reduce the workforce shortage and help deliver a new wave of skilled tradespeople.

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